a petit retreat? (sabbatical)

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I have been realizing that I have quite a bit of extra time (temporarily).  A few minutes here, half an hour there…  So I decided to do a little sabbatical in the midst of life – basically push the envelope with my practice of kindness to self.  Actually I finally resolved to do what the I Ching continues to recommend to me (over the past four months…)  It recommended doing a sabbatical back in November…  But I resisted… for a while…  <grin grin!>  I no longer wonder if resistance is futile – it is.  So, I’m just an ordinary human being, doing a little 10 day sabbatical in the midst of life.

Monday – I realized, hey!  Just go about life as usual, just added a titch more Dharma.  Did a smoke puja to start things off – to set the (my) intention / motivation of the ten days and asked for obstacles to be removed.

Tuesday – Sabbatical is starting off well.  Sticking pretty close to my regimented schedule – four thoughts, metta, refuge, heart sutra, confessions, prayers, etc.  As Geshe Jampel Thardo would say, just practice Bodhicitta.  Oh and lots of nap time to integrate and process.

Wednesday – Things are getting stirred up.  As I try to stay disciplined, the monkey mind wants to run off.  Doing okay with the schedule and with down time.  But the usual distractions are looming larger than normal.

Thursday – Thank goodness I am on brief sabbatical.  I woke up to find the rear glass of my car has been broken.  Wow!  Therefore took the bus to run a couple errands, then upon returning, found some large reservoirs of anger / resentment welling up within.  Oof!  The agonizing hells of attachment to objects and / or positing situations as certain is not worth it!  My sabbatical schedule is of little concern now – just staying present with what is arising – simply noticing and having compassion toward myself and others.  I feel violated.  It’s not easy – my habit of being hard of my self keeps rearing its ugly head.  Although today I am doing all I can simply to be present to my rage and just let it process through.

Friday – getting my car dealt with.  Drove to a friend’s to clean it up (insurance not covering the repair – grrr – need to fix that).  Thankfully I had this downtime planned ahead of time…  Now I am merely doing Dharma when I awaken and before I go to bed.  I’ve pretty much let go of  the previous schedule.  Today I felt unusually joyful though – perhaps a little recalibrating after processing some heavy stuff yesterday.  I looked at my astrology – when the window of my car was broken – transiting Pluto square my natal Mercury (ruler of vehicles and local travel), Mars is retrograde in my 12th house, transiting Jupiter square my natal Neptune (chart ruler) and trine my natal Uranus (perhaps providing just the outlet I need to let rage escape…  and therefore move toward self-actualization and authenticity.  ugh!)  Transiting Saturn is also retrograde, teetering on the threshold of my 3rd house (this could be “the reason” as the 3rd house has to do with vehicles, local travel among other characteristics).

Saturday – Woke up and I wanted to seize the day – i.e. I was feeling so good that I wanted to break off my discipline and run away…  Argh.  Many thoughts crossed through my mind, luckily I did not follow after any of them.  Upon checking in with the I Ching I was reminded that I am still on sabbatical.  Ooops…  The (my) mind is very tricky indeed.  Doing well being present with what I am noticing.  Thankfully the I Ching speaks what I need to hear.  Sitting at the Blue Ridge Zendo is helpful to clear my mind.

Sunday – Whoa!  Sat Zen and did their 2 hour morning gig – walking, chanting, tea ceremony, sitting.  Came back and I feel like I had an intense bodywork session (the base of my head is aching to lie down and integrate something).  Also, while sitting, it seemed like time stood still – and this time I was okay with it – not like the “oh my god!  when will this ever end” type of meditation.  Rather it was a, “oh, I’m still sitting here.  Curious.  And the bell has not rung yet.  Okay.  Fascinating.  Gonna keep on sitting.”  Then came home and zonked out until our (Tibetan) Dharma group met.

Monday – Oops.  Discovered more anger / resentment when I called around about getting my car repaired.  Sat a bit at home and then at the Zendo.  Still pushing myself, kindly.  After practice, felt the need for some socializing, so I went upstairs to visit with my neighbors.  I felt kind of high as I had been doing practice, but not the most grounded form.  Therefore I sent some emails which might cause the recipients to take me less than seriously.  Whoops.  Need to ground.  Sat at the Zendo with a large group of people (large for their group – there were nine of us).  My mind was not settled and I left feeling kind of frazzled – that might be a first.  Normally I sit zazen and I feel like my head has calmed and cleared.

Tuesday – Saw a client and then spent time afterward being kind to myself – took a bath, lay on a heating pad.  Yum yum yum.  Noticing telling myself big stories about an infection / cyst in my nose – I need to ask for support and then take some medicine <updated later – it is healing – Hooray!>.  Got my car window replaced – Yay!  Finally I let go a little and smile.  Aaahhhhhhhh…..  Did some nice cooking for everyone in the Dharma Duplex where I live (four of us), I made a couple of quiches.  A pleasant evening.

Wednesday – Today there is nothing planned.  Wow!  And I don’t know what to do with myself.  Yes, the perfect opportunity to do some practice.  Let’s see how I do with it.  Later…  Ohh…. outchie!  I saw the network chiropractor today, plus did some practice where I was pushing (too hard) and I think I stirred up some deep stuff.  Luckily I am attempting to see all composite phenomena as illusory – including the dark hopelessness I encountered.  Yowsers – be gentle Kirby…  doing very little is okay.  Sigh…

Thursday – Being gentle, going extra slow after what I processed or just tried to stay present with yesterday.  <the brakes are on as we speak.>  Did a little work outside in a friend’s garden, did a little Metta practice and then went for a hike.  Very pleasant although feelings of not “getting enough accomplished” and “guilt around not doing enough Dharma” are arising and they are yucky!  Ptooey!  Having some difficulty grounding recently.  (Wisdom, please bring myself and all sentient beings under your protection.  Help us ground and connect to wisdom presence.)

Friday – aaaahhhhhhh….  my little sabbatical is over.  Nothing special occurred, just attempted presence and tried to be in the freshness of the moment.  It seems sitting Zen is beneficial for me – it is like cool, mountain-stream water on a hot summer afternoon.  Otherwise I got glimpses of some big stuff I still need to work on.  Great!  I have homework.  🙂

Have a lovely, peace-filled day.

Published by Kirby Moore

Kirby Moore is a healing facilitator based in the beautiful rolling hills of Charlottesville, Virginia. He does sessions in-person and long distance via Skype and Zoom, working with Spiritual Astrology, Somatic Experiencing, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy and Birth Process Work. His healing work is informed by fifteen years of meditation and Qigong practice. He works with client's intentions and deepest longings to attain clear, tangible results. Contact him for more info at (email): kirby [at] mkirbymoore [dot] com

2 thoughts on “a petit retreat? (sabbatical)

  1. Inspiring, to say the least. Glad to see the melding of daily life and dharma, always refreshing. As I balance my “roshi” and “Taylor-la” mindsets it makes me feel well to see someone combining two traditions I hold so near and dear to my heart. May you be well, I look forward to seeing you soon.

    1. Hi Taylor, Thanks for reading and I am glad you found this inspiring – to be honest, it was quite intense… I think I need to be careful what I wish for 🙂 Good luck with balancing your social life and inner life. ~Kirby

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